An Indian couple held a mile-high wedding with 160 guests to avoid Covid-19 rules.
Groom Rakesh and his bride Dakshina rented out an entire Boeing 737 from low-cost domestic carrier SpiceJet for 44,000 USD in Tamil Nadu State, India as the region only allowed up to 50 people in a gathering.
They booked 160 people – relatives, friends and guests – into the flight which took off from Madurai International Airport to Bangalore on May 23. A Hindu priest performed the ceremony as they passed over Meenakshi Amman Temple.
After footage from the event surfaced showing the couple with their guests crammed into the narrow aisle, Indian authorities have launched an investigation.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Arun Kumar said SpiceJet had been instructed to take action against the newlyweds and their guests who breached the rules.
He said: ‘Crew have been off rostered. The airline was directed to lodge complaints against those not following Covid appropriate behaviour with relevant authorities. We will conduct a detailed inquiry and based on the outcome, shall take further action.’
Airline company SpiceJet’s spokesman said the passengers were ‘briefed in detail both in writing and verbally’ on social distancing inside the plane.
He said: ‘The agent and the guest passengers were briefed in detail, both in writing as well as verbally, on social distancing and safety norms to be followed as per Covid guidelines both at the airport and on board the aircraft throughout the journey.
‘Despite repeated requests and reminders, the passengers did not follow Covid guidelines and the airline is taking appropriate action as per rules.’
Despite heavy criticisms on their wedding, the defiant groom Rakesh claimed all their relatives did a Covid-19 rapid test which resulted negative.
He said: ‘I’m proud to have married my wife. It was the best day of our lives. Some people have complained that it was dangerous because of the pandemic, but we followed all the precautions.
‘Everybody on board tested negative for the virus so there was no risk.’
India experienced a surge in Covid-19 cases after the mutation version officially called B.1.617.2 or simply the ‘Indian variant’ was found in the country recording 26.8 million cases and 304,000 deaths as of May 25.